Accommodations can eat up a large part of your vacation budget. After all, it’s your home away from home while you’re exploring the world with your kids. Parents want hotel and resort rooms to be spacious and kids want comfy beds and plenty of entertainment.
Your family may or may not be spending a lot of time around the hotel or resort depending on whether or not you have a rental vehicle or transportation service to travel offsite.
Here are 5 easy ways to save money on hotel room reservations:
1. Use a Corporate/Government or Association Affiliation
Hotels often offer preferred rates to corporations, government employees and members of certain associations (like an automobile association – CAA/AAA). Your employer may have a corporate rate and you may be able to book at their price even if you are not there on a business trip – as long as you show your company ID.
2. Book a Vacation Package
If you are going to book plane tickets, accommodations and more (for example, a car rental), vacation packages may be the best way to save money on a hotel reservation. Most travel websites will offer discounts when hotel and flight reservations are booked at the same time. A search for a hotel near Walt Disney World on Hotwire showed my family of four would save up to $600 for a week long trip if we booked the flight and hotel together.
3. Know Which Days to Book
Most resort locations or family friendly hotels (ie. near a theme park) will be busy on the weekend but will start to empty out on Sunday or Monday. If you plan your trip outside of these peak times and start your stay in the middle of the week, you will save 15-40% on room rates.
If you are staying in a corporate or business area where conferences or meetings take place (ie. downtown Toronto), hotel rates will be much higher during the work week (especially Tuesday to Thursday). Once the work crowd clears out at the end of the week, you can book rooms on weekends for up to 50% off their regular rate.
4. Reserve a Non Refundable Room
Paying for your hotel reservation in advance and reserving a non refundable room will save on the cost of the room. Hotels such as Marriott offer up to 15 percent off room rates when you pay for the reservation in advance. When you make an advance purchase reservation, you are charged immediately for the room. Prepaid reservations are nonrefundable and no changes are allowed to be made once the room is confirmed.
5. Join the Club
Almost every major hotel chain has a free loyalty club or card that you can apply for. Enrolling in their loyalty club will earn rewards such as free rooms after multiple stays. Although you won’t be able to redeem the rewards right away, upon sign up you may get free room upgrades, complimentary internet service, bottled water or local newspaper delivery.
There are many other ways to save on hotel rooms, including naming your price, searching on a travel deal aggregator site, and purchasing packages from a group buy type website. I’ll save those for a future post.
What are some of the ways your family saves money on hotel bookings?